Tech Prom, Time Management, and the Future of Marketing: Q&A with Dave Balter

9/7/11Follow @gthuang

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and relevant the Boston tech scene is. In the past year, the spirit of this City has really evolved into a powerful and passionate scene, through a variety of exceptional individuals and companies.

In addition, this is a celebration of technology itself. Following on the heels of Ruby Riot and Boogie Down, it’s clear that the power of social and digital media is connective tissue that has greatly accelerated our path to innovation. We’re surrounded by tools—Twitter and Eventbrite and Square and Tumblr and Kik, the list is countless—that help us spread the message and create “conflagrations” on the fly. It used to take 6 months to plan a great event. Now it’s about the power of our voices and how we utilize technology to connect our community.

As for the humility imperative, we highly recommend humbleness in your attempts to get down, tear it up and jam it out. Word on the street is that the more humility you have, the easier it will be for you find a hot date. Just sayin’.

X: What was your own prom experience like? Can you share a formative moment from your life that influenced how you run BzzAgent today?

DB: I had a rather difficult prom. The head of the cheerleading squad asked me to the prom the same day as the women’s math club president asked if I wanted to go over some algorithms sometime. All this on top of realizing that the prom coincided with the harvest moon, which meant I’d probably have a pimple break out.

In the end, I chose to go with my girlfriend at the time, and properly made a jackass of myself in a white tux. The event culminated with a bra sighting, granted it was when one of the other attendees was straightening her dress, but still it felt like I’d accomplished something.

As for BzzAgent, probably the most influential experience for me was being pushed to join the swim team early in high school. My brother was already very accomplished and the coach was pressuring me to leave my inspirational convenience store clerk after-school job to join the team. In my first race, I couldn’t even finish. By the end of senior year, I was ranked 6th in the state in the breast stroke. That experience alone led me to realize that you can make the impossible possible if you swim and lift weights 4 hours every day and end up with little social life.

X: I’m interested in your perspective as an author, founder/CEO, and investor. First, what is the most important skill for each of these hats you wear?

DB: Founder/CEO: Well, there are two different elements at play here. As a founder, it’s all about vision. The ability to create a vision and the ability to shape and reshape it as you learn more about your market and customers. Without vision, there would never be a business.

As a CEO, vision is important, but not nearly as much as persistence. The CEO’s job—certainly in the startup phase—is to knock down every hurdle, wall and barrier in their way and to keep your feet shuffling at all times. There are a thousand reasons why companies fail, and it’s only with persistence that you don’t let a single one of them bring you down.

Author: Being an author to me is one of the hardest jobs ever. I happen to enjoy the craft of writing, but I’m not a “natural” and it takes an immense amount of work to deliver something that’s worth reading. I think the most important skill here is time management. I find the best writers create … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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